Can the Return of MLBbro Michael ‘The Professional’ Brantley Jumpstart Houston Astros’ Offense?

Can the Return of MLBbro Michael ‘The Professional’ Brantley Jumpstart Houston Astros’ Offense?

After winning the World Series beating the Philadelphia Phillies last year in six games, the Houston Astros have had issues putting together that chemistry from last year. With a 16-15 record and a two-game losing streak as of May 5th, the easy observation is that ineptitude on the offensive end is leading to losses. 

 

Houston Astros Bats Have Disappeared

 

The team is at the bottom of the Major Leagues in slugging percentage hovering around .370. To put this in perspective, the only teams with worse percentages are last place teams in the Oakland A’s, the Kansas City Royals and the Washington Nationals. 

 

But help is coming in MLBbro, Michael Brantley who is currently tearing up his rehab assignment with the Sugar Land Space Cowboys. Based on this tweet here, the Astros might have to fight to get him back…

 

 

 

Brantley has been impressive in his first action in ten months after undergoing arthroscopic labral repair on his right shoulder that kept him out of the Houston lineup since June 26th.

 

In six games with the Space Cowboys, our MLBbro had a batting average of .333. 

 

Astros general manager Dana Brown provided some insight on his timeline that Brantley could return to the parent club and possibly be in the lineup by Monday when Houston starts the Anaheim series.   

 

The ultimate goal for our MLBbro is getting back to the Astros…but at 100 percent. 

 

“I want to be healthy, I want to be able to contribute at a high level once I go back,” said Brantley. “There is a lot of hard work from a lot of good people to get me to this point and I am appreciative of being here and even having this opportunity, and all is going well so far.”

 

“The Professional” should hit the ground running upon return. Brantley stated recently that the competition in the minor leagues has gotten tougher since he came up the ranks years ago.

 

 

If Michael Brantley does return for the Anaheim series, then what?

 

Where will Michael Brantley fit in when he returns and more importantly…the future?

 

Our MLBbro has a shining reputation of being a professional hitter thanks to a disciplined eye at the plate and solid mechanics to make consistent contact. With that in mind, look for Brantley to fill the designated hitter spot when he returns. His career performance shows that Michael should be fine in the short term.

 

  • Brantley has topped the .300 mark in five of his last eight seasons.


  • He’s never struck out more than 60 times in any season of his career.


  • His OPS+ (On base Plus Slugging Plus) is at least 19 percent above league average the last five seasons. 

 

 

Michael Brantley made a positive contribution to the Astros offense before the team shut him down. His numbers were still solid ( .288/.370/.416 with an OPS of .785). Numbers like these along with veteran leadership in the locker room will suit the Astros just fine in the short term.

But what about the long term?

 

Could Michael Brantley be moving to first base ?

Throughout his career, Michael Brantley has been a defensive anchor in the outfield. But could a return from shoulder surgery prompt a move to the infield? According to MLBbro manager Dusty Baker, Brantley could be moving to first base when he gets his rhythm back.

 

 

 

Brantley has been seen working out at first base working on footwork and throwing mechanics. Even though our MLBbro hasn’t played first base in the minors in 2007, it’s all about the team and how he can help via MLB.com.

 

“We’ll see how it goes, Brantley said. “At the same time, it’s a team-first approach always. I’ve always been like that. If I can help the team out in any way, I’ll be available. It’s a lot of hard work. I’m learning a lot very quickly, but it’s all been going smoothly so far.”

 

“I’m just trying to learn and do the best of my ability and get the footwork down, make accurate throws, find new arm slots,” Brantley said. “It’s an adjustment period, but it’s kind of fun. I always enjoy taking ground balls. I get to do it a little more often.

 

With this season just starting basically 30 games in, the Astros see the season as a marathon and not a sprint. The team wants to see our MLBbro settled in for the postseason where he really can help the team repeat as champions.

The postseason is the end game for Michael Brantley’s rehab and position change.

 

When the Astros discussed their long term plans this season for Brantley, his postseason performance in 2020 was on the minds of many. Michael Brantley showed up and showed out with a .319 batting average with at least one RBI in seven of the 13 games he participated in. One of those games he deposited two homers with three RBI.   

 

Michael Brantley’s In A Class By Himself | ‘The Professional’ Masters The Art Of Hitting

 

 

But for any postseason talk to commence, the Astros have to start generating offense, which is where Brantley helps. To start this season, there have been ten Astros players with at least 50 plate appearances. Out of those ten, only Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker have OBPs of .340 or better. After signing a one-year deal last December, here’s hoping that Michael Brantley returns to reward the Astros loyalty despite surgery last season.

Will The Astros Bring Back Michael “The Professional” Brantley Next Year? | The Injured Star Will Be Missed This Postseason

Will The Astros Bring Back Michael “The Professional” Brantley Next Year? | The Injured Star Will Be Missed This Postseason

One of MLB’s forgotten star players announced that he’ll make his return in 2023 for a 15th season.

Five time All-Star and 2014 Silver Slugger Award recipient Michael Brantley will turn 36 early next summer. Despite being one of the older players in the league, he still is producing at a high level. In the 64 games that he suited up for the ‘Stros, he hit .288, with 5 home runs and 26 RBI. He had an on-base percentage of .370, and a slugging percentage of .416.

While those numbers are very impressive, Brantley’s been out since June 26th with a shoulder injury and will be a free agent at the conclusion of the year. He had a lingering knee injury that put him on the IL in 2021 for 40 games, and now a for a second straight season, he’s dealing with a significant injury. 

 

George Springer & Michael Brantley Injuries Are Crushing Blows For Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros Playoff Push

 

“Of course, this is what I love. I respect this game so much, and I cherish this game so much…baseball is my life” Brantley said on Wednesday when asked if playing another MLB season is something that he plans on doing. The question now is, what does the future hold for the outfielder?

It is very possible that Brantley will return to the Astros. He signed a two-year $32 million contract in December of 2018 after spending his first 10 seasons with Cleveland.  He re-signed with them on another two-year, $32 million contract. Who says a third 2-year, $32 million contract isn’t on the horizon for the left-handed slugger?

“I love my teammates, I love this organization…from day one when I walked in this door I was welcomed with open arms,” said Brantley. He clearly would love to stay in Houston, and who could blame him? The Astros just clinched their sixth straight division title, they have gone to the World Series three of the last five seasons and are favored once again to recapture the AL pennant.

“We feel whole now that Brantley’s back,” manager Dusty Baker said when it was announced that Brantley was back in the dugout supporting their team as they begin to make their playoff push. “We missed him.”

 

 

The feeling between Brantley and the clubhouse is clearly mutual, so it would not be surprising to see him back in Houston for a fifth season. However, with the emergence of Yordan Alvarez this season, and the team’s excellent track record of developing talent within their system, they could let the 35 year-old find a new home.

If it isn’t Houston, teams may be a little shy to hand Brantley a whole lot of cash. He is in his mid-30s, and hasn’t been healthy the past couple of seasons. But as we have seen recently, 35 is the new 25, and Brantley has been putting up numbers these past couple of campaigns that would be expected of a much younger star player. So, if he is able to shake off the injury bug, there is no reason to believe that he can’t still be a very important piece to whichever team signs him to a deal. 

Michael Brantley Trying To Get His Knee Right For MLB Playoffs

Michael Brantley Trying To Get His Knee Right For MLB Playoffs

According to reports, Houston Astros outfielder Michael Brantley resumed baseball activities on Sunday for the first time since being placed on the 10-day injury list for knee soreness, retroactive to September 11.

After watching him swing the bat and get in some glove work, Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker spoke to the media on Sunday and gave an informative declaration for the 2021 all-star opt-out. Baker told Mark Berman of Fox 26 that Brantley is coming along pretty good. 

He said, “We miss Brantley. The other guys have been doing a good job, but we miss Michael Brantley. He is a quality player, (a) quality defensive player who adds balance to our lineup with another lefty because you know we are right-handed strong right now. You don’t know how much you miss a guy until he is gone.”

Brantley traveled to Anaheim for a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels yesterday. Although the timetable for his return isn’t exact, the earliest he could be activated is Wednesday, September 22.

 The 34-year-old has a long history of injuries dating back to his days in Cleveland; Before this stint, he spent 15 days on the IL earlier this season with some hamstring discomfort. Besides that, with the Astros, he’s been relatively healthy. 

Brantley is still hunting the American League batting crown with a little over 10 games remaining as he is ranked second in votes behind Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

To qualify for the batting title, a player must make at least 502 at-bats. The big-league outfielder posted an average of .315 at the plate with an on-base percentage of .367 and a .441 slugging percentage in 493 plate appearances. 

Baker indicated to the Houston Chronicle that Brantley’s return would come into play when he regains his pro form as Sunday was the first time, he swung a bat since he sustained the initial injury.

Baker implied, “It is a matter of communication when you talk to (Brantley). At this point in your career, you know yourself, and you know what it feels like to have your act together. Some guys get it quickly, and some guys, it takes a long time. Some guys never lose it. That is rare. So, we will see.”